When I was a kid, my dad would often say, “I don’t care what they call me, as long as they call me for dinner.” Actually, he would say “supper” but that is a discussion for another day…Still, I am not sure he was being totally truthful. Almost all of us care what people call us.
Our names, nick names, and titles matter. Being called a CHRISTIAN is a big deal. We learned on Sunday that the term “Christian” was first used in Antioch. The believers there did not bestow that term upon themselves; it was given to them.
They earned that moniker as others observed their life and made value judgements about how the believers lived. They were, in essence, calling the church people “little Christs.”
Using the list that we found in Acts 11, let’s consider what others thought about the believers in Antioch. They were seen as a gracious group of people, a generous lot who genuinely cared about others.
They were seen to be operating out of their own comfort zone and putting the needs of others first. They were acting like Jesus, and the net effect was that being around them was inspiring. Their acts of service were transforming the community.
They showed a real hunger for the Word of God and used the Scriptures to share the Gospel with everyone they met. Their attitude was complementary. There was no competition between church bodies, pastors, or evangelists. Everyone was rowing in the same direction and to the cadence of their Savior.
So, these folks were called “Christians.”
This week, I got to wondering what our community sees in Coast Hills folks. What are they calling us? Do they know us by our love (John 13:35) or by our political preferences? Do we have a golden reputation as men and women of faith, or do they know us by our stance on masks, vaccines, or dining choices? Do they know what we are for or just what we are against?
The community around the church in Antioch gave the believers their name. They saw a bunch of people who were doing their best to look like Jesus, and they rewarded them with a wonderful title.
So, let’s be like the Antioch crowd and learn to live in love. No divisions and no cranky choices that put us at odds with one another.
Wouldn’t it be fun to read in The Register next week that the disciples of Orange County were first called Christians at Coast Hills?